Did you know Wednesday was National Egg Day? Your card must have gotten lost in the mail. It’s okay, we forgive you.

News and updates

  • The Official World Golf Ranking will resume next week when the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour return to action. The ranking system has been frozen since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the golf season in mid-March. Among fans and players outside the U.S., the decision to reopen the ranking before the European Tour gets back to business in July has been, to put it lightly, controversial. More on this news below.
  • Some PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour players will play a two-man team event in Sea Island this weekend in preparation for next week’s restart. The 36-hole best-ball tournament will feature players like Harris English, Hudson Swafford, Patton Kizzire, Keith Mitchell, and Lee Hodges. Full Story from Rex Hoggard
  • Our friends at Data Golf put together a fascinating ranking of the best stretches of golf from male players over the past 20 years. Take a look!

The Storylines

Restart your engines

The Official World Golf Ranking Governing Board announced Wednesday morning that the OWGR will restart the week ending June 14, the final day of the Charles Schwab Challenge on the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass.

There are a few notable points in the OWGR board’s statement. First, major championships and global tours have agreed to use the frozen rankings from March 11 to determine their fields in 2020. Second, the statement acknowledges that international players will not be able to earn points right away, but the board is confident that the effects of this imbalance will be minimal.

OWGR board chairman Peter Dawson added clarifying comments in a call with Golf Digest. “Both the committee and the board took the view that if so many of the world’s top players are going to be playing in America in the coming weeks, we really had to restart the rankings,” he said. “There was no other way without compromising the integrity of the rankings. Adjusting them by giving special weight to the European Tour or other tours in an arbitrary way wasn’t going to work. I liken this to coming out of lockdown. It’s harder to come out than it is to go in. It was almost impossible not to upset someone.”

Many players outside the U.S. appear unconvinced by this explanation. Several European Tour members—namely Matt Fitzpatrick, Brandon Stone, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Scott Hend, and Lee Westwood—have criticized the board’s decision, calling it unfair to those who can’t play right away. While none of these players fleshed out their reasoning, we can assume that they believe PGA Tour and KFT will gain a substantial OWGR advantage over the next few weeks. Let’s break down why that’s not really true.

The OWGR system takes a weighted average of the past two years’ worth of events. The older the event, the less weight it has. While this means that past events will go down in value before international players can replace them with new results, the short-term effect won’t be big, and the long-term effect will be negligible. Even players relying on old events to prop up their ranking won’t suffer much unless they have played very poorly of late.

One big problem players might have with the OWGR restart is that important tournaments (majors and WGCs specifically) often use world ranking to help determine fields. But the OWGR board and the organizations running those events have accounted for that issue: “The major championships and professional tours involved in the administration of the Ranking are acutely aware of the difficulties arising around the world from a staggered resumption of play. In light of this, these organizations have agreed, wherever possible and appropriate, to incorporate the Ranking through Week 11 [March 9-15] as part of the qualification criteria for their events.”

It’s worth noting that the Masters field is already set and the 2020 Open Championship was canceled; those events would not have been affected anyway.

Finally, the European Tour has chosen to freeze Ryder Cup World Points until play resumes, ensuring that Europeans playing in America will not gain an unfair advantage over those still in Europe. For Olympic qualifying, certain PGA Tour pros could get a head start on their countrymen, but there are six majors and many other events to play before Tokyo. It seems unlikely that the next month will have much of an impact there.

All of this is to say that the OWGR restart… [taking cover in case of fire from across the pond]… is not that big of a deal. Yes, the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour will begin earning points a month before other tours. That doesn’t mean those players will automatically overtake their international colleagues in the ranking. The OWGR system just isn’t that volatile. No one is losing a spot in a major championship or a WGC this season, no one will slip substantially in the ranking, and everything will level out in the near future.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

School of Golf Architecture, Part 4: Collaboration – In our latest edition of School of Golf Architecture, Garrett is joined by golf course architect Andy Staples. The two talk about how collaboration happens throughout the design process. Read Garrett’s full piece on our website and listen to the accompanying podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Shotgun Start: Mushroom mispronunciations, OWGR inequities, and Flashlight on Se Ri Pak

This Friday episode begins with Brendan and Andy announcing their caption contest winners from Instagram for B. Draddy polos, which leads to an amusing story about Andy trying to pronounce a certain variety of mushroom in a prior job. Then the two react to news that the OWGR freeze will end next week despite the fact that, well, world golf is not resuming. How was Scott/Keith Pelley the only dissenting vote against this measure and did the PGA Tour put their thumb on scale? Then they revel in this Data Golf ranking of the players from 2004 onward based on their peak stretch of golf. A notable Lefty falls down the ranking. Then there is a Flashlight on the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open in what would have been the week for that major championship. This evolves into a discussion of Se Ri Pak’s career and the contention that she has had the biggest impact on golf out of anyone in this era, including Tiger Woods. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

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